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Microsoft says UK Regulator an 'Outlier' for Blocking Activision Deal

LONDON, May 30 (Reuters) - Microsoft on Tuesday accused Britain's anti-trust regulator of being a global "outlier" in blocking its $69 billion takeover of "Call of Duty" maker Activision Blizzard.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) vetoed the deal in April, saying it could hurt competition in the nascent cloud gaming market, sparking a furious row.

The company is asking for an appeal, in which Activision wants to intervene, to be heard in July. Lawyers representing the CMA said in court filings that Microsoft's appeal should be heard in September at the earliest.

Microsoft's lawyer Daniel Beard told the CAT on Tuesday: "If this process does not move forward quickly, it jeopardises this merger being completed."

Microsoft is appealing against the ruling at the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) in London, arguing that the CMA was wrong to conclude the deal would lead to a substantial lessening of competition in the United Kingdom's cloud gaming market.

He said that 10 regulators – including the European Union's competition authority, which gave the deal the go-ahead earlier this month – have already approved the merger.

"The CMA is the outlier here in its position," Beard said. "It creates the uncertainty that risks derailing this deal and it is for that reason that speed is of the essence."

He added: "It is only here that we have this uncertainty in terms of there being a decision which we say is fundamentally wrong and purports to stop this merger worldwide in relation to a tiny part of the gaming industry."

Microsoft has also appealed the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's action seeking to block the deal on the grounds that, the agency said, it would suppress competition.

Reporting by Sam Tobin; editing by Kate Holton

Source: Reuters

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